POG: WVU - Cleveland State

This is a recording. Kevin Jones is West Virginia's player of the game again. This is a recording.

Jones was again West Virginia's best and most consistent performer as the Mountaineers downed Cleveland State 80-78 in the Wolstein Center on Saturday afternoon. Jones got off and running early by scoring the first hoop of the game, and had 12 of WVU's first 24 points as the Mountaineers slowly built a double-digit lead in the opening half. He finished with 14 points at the break and added nine in the second for 23 overall -- the second consecutive game in which he has set a career-high scoring mark.

Jones' scoring might not have been his biggest contribution, however. He also had four assists, including a final one with just two seconds to go for the winning hoop. On the play, with the score tied, Jones took yet another ill-advised lob pass from Truck Bryant and found Da'Sean Butler cutting for the basket. That hoop saved WVU from an ugly upset loss and kept the Mountaineers undefeated.

Jones also had three rebounds, one block and one steal as the Mountaineers moved to 8-0.


  • Da'Sean Butler was a focal point of the Cleveland State defense early on, and the Vikings held WVU's stellar senior scoreless for the first 16:32 of the contest. Butler didn't force things, however, and when the clock was winding down at the end of both halves, he was in the spotlight. Butler scored eight points in the final 3:28 of the first half as the Mountaineers took a 13 point lead into the locker room, and then scored WVU's final three points of the contest.

    It was something of an understated performance, but in the end, his line was mostly impressive. The New Jersey native finished with 18 points and nine rebounds while dealing out five assists, coming up with two steals and blocking a shot. Only five turnovers, most of them in a shaky stretch in the second half when the Viking press fueled CSU's comeback, kept him from snaring player of the game honors. Still, his contributions were vital.

    "If Da'Sean fouls out, we don't win the game," head coach Bob Huggins said afterward.

  • Turnovers and defensive changes were keys in what was a tale of two halves. In the first 20 minutes, West Virginia forced 11 turnovers and scored 19 points off them while pushing out to the 13-point lead. In the second half, the numbers were reversed, as CSU went to a full court press and made the Mountaineers look like a middle school team at times. The Vikings forced 11 WVU turnovers as they rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the game at 71-all in the closing minutes.

    Cleveland State opened the game in a 2-3 zone, and WVU shredded that look on its way to a 56% shooting mark. However, due to the many missed opportunities due to the giveaways, the Mountaineers managed just 50 shot attempts on the afternoon.

  • Truck Bryant had a bad game. He was beaten consistently on defense, shot just 3-11 from the field and struggled to break Cleveland State's press. But credit has to be given for his four free throws late in the game when the Mountaineers were in danger of giving up the lead. Bryant twice went to the line with two-point advantages and hit a pair of freebies to give WVU just a bit of breathing room -- space that it had to have in order to win the game.

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